Be my Metamate ❤️
NSE scam, fintech raises, and stuff from the week before.
Market summary: 📊
Despite the slow decline for the last 3 days, India finished the week up a percent — thanks to Tuesday’s rally. US closed in the red, finishing what has been a brutal week overall.
S&P 500 - down 0.72%
Nasdaq - down 1.14%
Nifty 50 - down 0.16%
Sensex - down 0.10%
Weekend caffeine shot ☕
👋 Adiós — in today’s edition of founder-drama, one of the billionaire cofounders of Indigo Airlines, Rakesh Gangwal, has resigned from the company with plans to offload his stake over the next 5 years — primarily due to differences with his partner Rahul Bhatia over how the business should be run. Gangwal and his wife own about 25% of the Airline. Gangwal also has extensive airline experience — so finding a gig at one of the other upcoming plays shouldn’t be that hard. Shareholders seemed a bit queasy though, taking Indigo stock down 2% yesterday.
🤦♂️ We’re a startup now — Zuckerberg’s baby, Meta, slipped out of the 10 largest public companies in the world, as Facebook’s stock continues to give way — now down 45% from September peaks. Meanwhile, HR is busy cooking schemes to boost the morale of employees, afraid of the rats jumping the sinking ship. One of the scheme is to call all employees “Metamates” apparently. “Now is the right time to update our values and our cultural operating system” — said a company wide CEO memo.
Fake Yogi duped the CEO of NSE… bro what? 🎥
What happened — the income tax department raided the house of the ex-CEO of the National Stock Exchange Chitra Ramakrishna, as well as the group’s COO Anand Subramanian, trying to uncover illicit gains and evidence of financial favors.
Some backstory — the ex-CEO of the NSE, Ms. Chitra Ramakrishna, is under the lens for apparently allowing a faceless “yogi” to dictate terms to her on how to run the Stock Exchange while she was CEO — all over freaking email.
Between 2013 to 2016ish, when Ms. Ramakrishna ran shop, SEBI is alleging she routinely shared private info (financials, strategic plans, and other stuff) with a counsel over email asking for guidance. Here’s where it gets silly — apparently the “Himalayan yogi”, among the countless suvichars he shared, got Ms. Ramakrishna to hire a low-key professional with no experience and bring him up to the Chief Strategy Officer position of NSE. TF?
Worse? Authorities believe the CSO himself was the faceless-Yogi — manipulating Ms. Ramakrishna to his own gain, which indicates serious lapses in governance and raises far fetching questions on her ability to lead. Press is digesting the fiasco, investigations are on — and every division from the CBI to Income Tax is scouring the works. The Print has a remarkable story on how it all unfolds.
Not the first rodeo — fyi, this ain’t the first time Ms. Ramakrishna found herself on the wrong side of a trade. In 2017, she was forced to resign after media found out about the NSE was sharing market-data with some traders before giving it to the rest of the market.
What now — for the latest fiasco, SEBI is slapping a ₹3 crore on Ramakrishna, ₹2 crore each on the NS, Anand Subramanian, and a few other executives. NSE will also be barred from launching any new products for the next 6 months. Like a script written for the makers of Scam 1992.
And then quick look at some fintech raises 💰
First up, Pine Labs raised another $150 million from Alpha Wave Global — at a valuation of over $5 billion. Pine is in the middle of its US IPO.
For those new here, Pine sells payment processing services to large merchants in India and South East Asia — from your local mall, to the digital portal of the old-school merchants you buy clothes online from. They’ve made a couple of classic acquisitions over the past few years, like rewards-platform Fave, payments startup Qfix, taking pages from the playbook of payments OG Square.
Anyway, Pine processes over $30 billion in annual payments, for 150+ major retailers in India and thousands of other small merchants.
And then at the intersection of education and fintech 📚
Propelld, which offers loans for education and upskilling, closed a $35 million Series B round from WestBridge Cap and others.
Propelld is trying to service a gap often ignored by large banks who generally don’t fund education from non-degree granting programs. They work with 550+ institutes (like Newton School) and have processed over ₹600 crore+ in funding.
Aight peeps that’s it for today, a quick look at major stuff that went down this week…
✈️ Air India gets a new CEO — the former Chairman of Turkish Airlines, Mr. Ilker Ayci, was brought in to take over as the newest CEO of Air India, as the Tatas rewire the battered airline. Mr. Ayci, in addition to distinguished airline experience, remains a politically well-connected man — after working with the Turkish Government, as well as serving on an investment promotion association of the United Nations.
🛰️ Reliance is shopping for satellites — Reliance signed a $100 million deal with SES, a global satellite connectivity provider, with the duo forming an India focused joint venture giving RIL 51% ownership. Reliance will contract some of the 70+ satellites SES owns, and will also work with them to deploy another fleet to complement and support Jio’s terrestrial network to reduce coverage gaps in rural areas.
🦄 9th unicorn of 2022 — Chennai-based enterprise software player, Uniphore raised a $400 million Series E at a $2.5 billion valuation — becoming India’s 9th unicorn of the year! The 15 year old business sells conversational tools to improve customer contact operations of large enterprises, serving clients like Accenture and DHL.
💳 Lending scandal rocks fintech world — users of the digital lending app called Dhani reported loans being approved through their PAN card details, without them seeking one, hinting at a large scale ID-theft situation. The company was previously Indiabulls consumer finance, and their Android app having 5 crore+ downloads on the Play Store, so it seems like a pretty wide mess on the face of it.
💰 Jio pairs up with Glance — in another deal, Reliance again wrote a $200 million check to InMobi’s Glance, at a $1.7 billion valuation. Glance’s pre-installed tools lets Android users set exciting home screens — but actually in the backend, the software helps OEMs make some commission by showing users ads. Could be a great way for Reliance to monetize its low-cost Android smartphones!
And then finally, quick look at some acquisitions this week 🤝
IBM purchased an Indian cloud consulting firm called Neudesic, expanding its portfolio in the hybrid cloud business.
Intel spent $5.4 billion on acquiring Tower Semiconductor, a contract manufacturer — as part of Intel’s plans to enter the foundry business.
In fitness tech, Cult.fit is acquiring the India operations of Gold’s Gym’s, expanding its network of specialized studios.
And then lastly, Zendesk, the seller of cloud-based customer chat tools got a $17 billion takeout offer from a consortium of private equity firms. Zendesk rejected the offer, but apparently a bidding war is on.
Hit that 💚 if you liked today’s issue.
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